Subchapter I In General
Subchapter II Office of the Capitol Visitor Center
Subchapter III Capitol Visitor Center Revolving Fund
Subchapter IV Capitol Guide Service and Office of Congressional Accessibility Services
Subchapter V Miscellaneous Provisions
Subchapter VI Authorization of Appropriations

Terms Used In U.S. Code > Title 2 > Chapter 31

  • Adjourn: A motion to adjourn a legislative chamber or a committee, if passed, ends that day's session.
  • Advice and consent: Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Amendment in the nature of a substitute: An amendment that would strike out the entire text of a bill or other measure and insert a different full text.
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See
  • Balanced budget: A budget in which receipts equal outlays.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Baseline: Projection of the receipts, outlays, and other budget amounts that would ensue in the future without any change in existing policy. Baseline projections are used to gauge the extent to which proposed legislation, if enacted into law, would alter current spending and revenue levels.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Bequest: Property gifted by will.
  • Board: means the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance. See
  • Board: means the National Recording Preservation Board. See
  • Budget authority: Authority provided by law to enter into obligations that will result in outlays of Federal funds. Budget authority may be classified by the period of availability (one-year, multiyear, no-year), by the timing of congressional action (current or permanent), or by the manner of determining the amount available (definite or indefinite).
  • Committee amendment: An amendment recommended by a committee in reporting a bill or other measure.
  • Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Concurrent resolution: A legislative measure, designated "S. Con. Res." and numbered consecutively upon introduction, generally employed to address the sentiments of both chambers, to deal with issues or matters affecting both houses, such as a concurrent budget resolution, or to create a temporary joint committee. Concurrent resolutions are not submitted to the President/Governor and thus do not have the force of law.
  • Conferees: Legislators appointed to serve on conference committees. They are also called "managers." Conferees are usually appointed from the committee or committees that reported the legislation; they are expected to try and uphold their chamber's position on measures when they negotiate with conferees from the other chamber.
  • Conference committee: A temporary, ad hoc panel composed of conferees from both chamber of a legislature which is formed for the purpose of reconciling differences in legislation that has passed both chambers. Conference committees are usually convened to resolve bicameral differences on major and controversial legislation.
  • Conference report: The compromise product negotiated by the conference committee. The "conference report" is submitted to each chamber for its consideration, such as approval or disapproval.
  • Congressional Record: The substantially verbatim account of daily proceedings in Congress. It is printed for each day Congress is in session. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • county: includes a parish, or any other equivalent subdivision of a State or Territory of the United States. See
  • covered employee: means any employee of--

    (A) the House of Representatives. See

  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Devise: To gift property by will.
  • Discretionary spending: Spending (budget authority and outlays)controlled in annual appropriations acts.
  • employee: includes an applicant for employment and a former employee. See
  • employing office: means --

    (A) the personal office of a Member of the House of Representatives or of a Senator. See

  • Engrossed bill: The official copy of a bill or joint resolution passed by a chamber of the legislature.
  • Enrolled bill: The final copy of a bill or joint resolution which has passed both chambers in identical form. It is printed on parchment paper, signed by appropriate officials, and submitted to the President/Governor for signature.
  • Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Germane: On the subject of the pending bill or other business; a strict standard of relevance.
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Interrogatories: Written questions asked by one party of an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath; a discovery device in a lawsuit.
  • Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
  • Joint resolution: A legislative measure which requires the approval of both chambers.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Librarian: means the Librarian of Congress. See
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • Majority leader: see Floor Leaders
  • Mandatory spending: Spending (budget authority and outlays) controlled by laws other than annual appropriations acts.
  • Minority leader: See Floor Leaders
  • oath: includes affirmation, and "sworn" includes affirmed. See
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Office: means the Office of Compliance. See
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See
  • Original bill: A bill which is drafted by a committee. It is introduced by the committee or subcommittee chairman after the committee votes to report it.
  • Outlays: Outlays are payments made (generally through the issuance of checks or disbursement of cash) to liquidate obligations. Outlays during a fiscal year may be for payment of obligations incurred in prior years or in the same year.
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Point of order: A claim made by a legislator from the floor that a rule of the legislature is being violated. If the Chair sustains the point of order, the action in violation of the rule is not permitted.
  • President pro tempore: A constitutionally recognized officer of the Senate who presides over the chamber in the absence of the Vice President. The President Pro Tempore (or, "president for a time") is elected by the Senate and is, by custom, the Senator of the majority party with the longest record of continuous service.
  • Presiding officer: A majority-party Senator who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing Members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Public debt: Cumulative amounts borrowed by the Treasury Department or the Federal Financing Bank from the public or from another fund or account. The public debt does not include agency debt (amounts borrowed by other agencies of the Federal Government). The total public debt is subject to a statutory limit.
  • Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
  • publication: has the meaning given such term in section 101 of title 17. See
  • Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
  • Ranking minority member: The highest ranking (and usually longest serving) minority member of a committee or subcommittee.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • Reconciliation bill: A bill containing changes in law recommended pursuant to reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution. If the instructions pertain to only one committee in a chamber, that committee reports the reconciliation bill. If the instructions pertain to more than one committee, the Budget Committee reports an omnibus reconciliation bill, but it may not make substantive changes in the recommendations of the other committees.
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • sound recording: has the meaning given such term in section 101 of title 17. See
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Testify: Answer questions in court.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • vehicle: includes every description of carriage or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on land. See
  • writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See